How to Get a Burden for the Lost

John 4:31-38

June 3, 2013 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (Romans 9:1-3)


A.      Paul was so grieved about just how lost people were – especially HIS own people


1.      He carried a heavy burden on his heart, that kept him praying, begging God for His own people to turn from their religion,  to Jesus Christ

2.      That burden pushed him to keep confronting the Jews, keep upsetting them, keep compelling them to get born again!


B.      A burden…


1.      Is a motivation, a pull or a push against us that gets us to do what doesn’t come naturally

2.      More than that, it is having a heart, the is broken over the lost-ness of people’s souls. It is caring for people’s souls


C.      People today care more about their pets, and the climate, and endangered species, than they do about people’s eternal, never-ending souls

D.     The challenge is to overcome spiritual apathy, personal pride, and fear – basically overcome our lack of care for people’s souls


1.      This is like a plague throughout Christianity today!

2.      It not only happens to the normal Christian Joe Soap, but also to pastors, missionaries, missionary wives – to us all!


E.      Jesus was burdened, grieved, broken hearted for the lost around Him

F.      We need to keep burdened for souls!


II.    Background (John 4)


A.      The disciples had no burden for the Samaritans


1.      To them, they weren’t equal to the Jews

2.      They were just “people” who were in the way between Judah and Galilee

3.      Like “Travellers” (Gypsies), or other minorities

4.      And example of their attitude was in Luke chapter 9, when the Samaritans were being very rude and abusive towards Jesus and His disciples, James and John asked Jesus if they could “pray” and get FIRE to fall from heaven against those Samaritans like God had judged Sodom and Gommorah!


B.      But the problem wasn’t really with the Samaritans, it was with all people in general. The Disciples did not have much of a burden at all for the people they were supposed to be preaching to. Would often ask Jesus to send people away

C.      The disciples loved learning the Bible, and loved spending time with Jesus…

D.     But they had a hard time caring about souls!

E.      I pray that we all get a proper burden for souls this morning!


III. Message


A.     Admit It (John 4:31-33)


1.      That you probably don’t have the kind of burden for people like you should

2.      Jesus had a purpose, and drive that the disciples didn’t have


a.       The followers of Jesus were motivated by hunger, by tiredness


1)     So they would go and get food

2)     Or seek out a place to rest


b.      But, Jesus had a sustenance better than all of that – something that sustained Him


1)     He wasn’t hungry for food – he wasn’t weary of the trip

2)     He was hungry for a lost woman in Samaria to get born again

3)     And he was weary of the devil winning in people’s lives and homes!


3.      Compared to how we SHOULD BE, we are cold, and indifferent – we just don’t really care!

4.      It takes quite a bit to get people to admit that they are cold, and indifferent towards souls


a.       Not that they don’t care…

b.      But most people don’t care about souls, and about heaven and hell issues – they just don’t care!

c.       We all care about


1)     Injustices, about physical abuses, about lack of funding, about child welfare

2)     We care more about our Sports teams, Politics, Economics and job situations


d.      Oh these are things that we care passionately about!

e.       But very few people are burdened and broken over lost souls


5.      Admit that there probably is a load of sin and carnality blocking your softness of heart


a.       Usually sin in our own lives is not properly seen as our problem

b.      Yet it is usually the biggest problem

c.       Dull of hearing

d.      Hearts are WAXED gross – become very fat with sin

e.       Not hungry for souls to be saved


6.      Let’s take a moment and see what is in all our hearts and has all our attention…


a.       Arguments in your home

b.      Struggles financially or even physically (health)

c.       Maybe there is secret sin that has its grip on you (Matthew 24:12)!

d.      Iniquity is sin, disobedience to God, and filling your heart with wrong thoughts and wrong desires!

e.       THAT’S why you won’t come out soul-winning on Saturdays

f.        THAT’S why you don’t care!


B.     Accept It (John 4:34; Mt 11:28-30)


1.      It is the will of God that we care


a.       That we care for each other – love one another

b.      That we love out wives, children, husbands

c.       AND, that we love souls of people who are lost


2.      Accept that burden from God

3.      God’s will IS a burden, a weight, a brokenness in your heart


a.       It rarely is awesome, and fun, and wonderful

b.      It is however, given to every believer

c.       It is the job we have to do


1)     Like ambassadors in a foreign country

2)     Like Search and Rescue teams, risking their lives to save someone in danger

3)     When someone asks them, Why do you risk your life? They will easily and quickly respond, Because it’s my life, my job, my purpose!


4.      Jesus gave us our Purpose – our Commission


a.       Acts 1:8 “And ye shall be witnesses unto me”

b.      Mt 28:19,20 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you

c.       Luke 24:47,48 "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things."


5.      It is His yoke, HIS Burden! Matthew 11:28,29

6.      Jesus is so often surprised that we don’t care about the people we meet and talk to!

7.      When He has commanded us to care!


C.      Open Your Eyes – be Attentive – pay close attention (John 4:35)


1.      We can tell there are months yet before harvest of wheat and barley. The stalks are still green, and short

2.      But look on “the fields” – take ANOTHER LOOK

3.      WHITE, ready for harvest meant glistening, golden white, past ripe!


a.       No time to waste

b.      When it was golden was the best time, but white means the wheat berries were falling to the ground and could not be gathered very easily anymore – it was getting too late!



5.      Jesus is talking about fields of people


a.       People are more than just bodies – they are SOULS (Acts 27:37; 2:41)

b.      They are not young and innocent anymore

c.       They are way beyond their due date


6.      Notice just how lost, how needy people are of Jesus


a.       People are blind, crippled, lame, deaf on the INSIDE to the life that is in Christ!

b.      The anger level of the crowds

c.       The homosexual agenda

d.      The lack of “God” is most of our culture

e.       There is a general HATRED of anything religious, and connected with God

f.        That people are going to hell – and need someone to intervene!


1)     Not because they just sin

2)     But because they don’t do right – they don’t do God’s right (Romans 10:1-3)


g.       Our generation does not know God, and does not care to know the God of the Bible!

h.      That’s aweful! That’s a dangerous way to live


D.     Attempt to Win a Soul (John 4:36-38)


1.      The best part!

2.      Something happens when you START to CARE – it grows on you

3.      The doing of God’s will is so satisfying

4.      Winning a soul is like catching a fish (Luk 5:9,10) 


a.       For he (Peter) was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.


5.      There are HUGE rewards to soul-winning


a.       Pro 11:30  The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

b.      SOULS getting saved is a huge reward

c.       Your own family being saved is another

d.      Salvation of a nation is a great thing

e.       God honours us with rewards!

f.        Joy! Best fun ever! Not in the planting, and weeding, but in the HARVESTING!


6.      Just do your part (1Cor 3:5-9) – do something for a lost person to hear!


a.       Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.”

b.      Some plant

c.       Some weed

d.      Some water

e.       And some reap/harvest

f.        Everyone working together – entering into each other’s labours will bring home a harvest – MY NEXT POINT!


7.      Remember, (remind yourself of this)… you are doing for the Lord – out of love for Him! And you will find yourself loving the souls HE loves!


E.      Anticipate Souls (John 4:36-38) – expect someone to believe!


1.      Every farmer plants, believing that he will have an harvest

2.      So should we!

3.      Don’t just go, but go believing!


a.       Believe that you will get a burden as you go – even before you feel it

b.      Believe that God will give you the power and wisdom you need as you go

c.       AND, believe that He will reward you with a soul


F.      Ask For a Burden for Souls (Matthew 9:35-38)


1.      It’s funny, but THAT should be our constant prayer!

2.      We ask for so many wrong things

3.      Ask God to break your heart, and make you care about the lost!

4.      To make you care about the SOULS of your co-workers; your brothers, sisters; your neighbours; just anyone you meet!


G.     Abound In It (John 4:38)


1.      While the disciples were getting a lesson in soul-winning, and they were debating in their minds whether it was all that important, a single woman, a Samaritan woman was out ABOUNDING in soul-winning and turning a village upside down with the Gospel!

2.      Don’t just dabble in soul-winning

3.      Get absorbed by it – addicted to it!

4.      If you SOW, you WILL reap! It is a law of nature! Count on it!

5.      AND… By nature, you WILL reap MORE than you plant!


a.       Every Euro you give will bear fruit

b.      Every tract you give away, will do some good


6.      Make soul-winning than a hobby…

7.      Make it a way of seeing people, events, life as more than just what’s on the surface!


a.       Every disaster… think of just how lost they are

b.      Every world event… pray and ask God to send a Gospel preacher and church starter to them

c.       Start to look for openings and opportunities to talk about the wonderful works of God in your life!

d.      We all ought to be very soul-conscious; very spiritually minded people!


8.      A farmer, thinks pretty much about: dirt, soul, rocks, weeds, fertilizers, ploughs, rain, storms, rotivators, seeds, combines, harvestors, baling machines, bales, and the market! Yep! That’s what a farmer thinks about, because that is his life!

9.      What do YOU think about?


IV.  Conclusion


A.      Paul was so grieved about just how lost people were – especially HIS own people


1.      He carried a heavy burden on his heart, that kept him praying, begging God for His own people to turn from their religion,  to Jesus Christ

2.      That burden pushed him to keep confronting the Jews, keep upsetting them, keep compelling them to get born again!


B.      Do YOU have a burden for souls?

C.      Or are you kind of like the disciples in Samaria – just wanting to get through and on your way!

D.     If you would like to get a burden, a broken heart once again for souls…


1.     Admit that you need it! Confess a cold heart as sin!

2.     Accept It – the Holy Spirit is constantly putting it into all of our hearts! Accept it as a GIFT from God!

3.     Open Your Eyes – be Attentive – pay close attention to the lostness of people – it will have a strange effect on you!

4.     Attempt to Soul-Win – just try it – you might just LOVE it!

5.     Anticipate Souls – we have to go and tell someone by faith! Believing someone will get born again!

6.     Ask God For a Burden for Souls

7.     Finally, Abound in it – don’t just start and stop, or dabble… get all the way in


E.      From this very day, forward!


1.      Grab you some tracts and just start handing to anybody who will take them

2.      Start up a conversation at work, telling people how Jesus Christ saved your soul

3.      Pray for an opening with someone you know needs to be saved, and then go through that opening when it opens up!